Television preview RECOMMENDED VIEWING THIS WEEKEND

Dancing in the Street Sat 9.50pm BBC2 Cadfael Sun 8pm ITV Inside Story Sun 8.40pm BBC2 Brainspotting Sun 9pm C4 The World of James Bond Sun 9.30pm ITV
Click to follow
The Independent Culture
Did pheasants used to hop squawking around our woodlands in the 12th century? Weren't these game birds a far later introduction to our shores? I may be wrong, but Cadfael (Sun ITV), like any historical drama, inspires this sort of pedantry.

In case you've never caught the show, Cadfael is a sleuthing medieval monk, played by Derek Jacobi at his most jolly and benign. The pheasant in question rears up in front of a horse ridden by leering, sneering Ian Reddington (you might remember him as Tricky Dicky in EastEnders), soon to be felled by a jewel-encrusted dagger. Is his death somehow connected to the young nobleman who has come to Cadfael's monastry desperate to be taken on as a novice?

Central Television has gone to considerable lengths to make its period drama authentic - filming it in Hungary because the English countryside is too full of electricity pylons, out-of-town shopping centres and oilseed rape - a pointed lesson to all the Merrie Englanders who will no doubt help make up the audience. Anyway, it's quite diverting, in a surprisingly subdued sort of way.

A technical hitch the other week means that the Inside Story (Sun BBC2) about the Dionne quintuplets gets a second, fully-functioning showing - quite rightly, because this is a fascinating and moving film, given a boost of topicality by the recent controversy over the octuplet mother- to-be (or not to be).

The Dionne quintuplets were identical girls born to a dirt-poor French- Canadian farmer's wife in 1934, and almost immediately whisked away to a ready-built hospital by their doctor - a chipper-looking man obsessed with germs. There they grew up as a freak show - on one public holiday, 10,000 people queued up to watch them at play in their open-air "pen" (more like an enclosure at the zoo). Three of the five are still living, and give their first on-camera interview to producer/director Jane Treays.

The otherwise admirable Dancing in the Street (Sat BBC2) comes to a somewhat cursory-seeming conclusion, yanking us from hip hop and rap to techno and rave music, and in the process exposing the series's one weakness - that on occasion, Sean Barrett's narration comes on like a Shell promotional short circa 1965. Strangely for a series that was a few weeks ago at pains to illustrate the connection between LSD and psychadelic rock, there is not one mention of the word Ecstasy - surely a much wider socio-musical phenomenon than acid ever was.

Brainspotting (Sun C4) continues with Ken Campbell playing chess with Dodger the dog, shaking hands with COG the robot, and going through several changes of woolly hat in his search for the meaning of consciousness. No such strenuous mental activity from The World of James Bond - a Tribute to Cubby Broccoli (Sun ITV). The measure of machismo in Bond film circles seems to be the swimming pool - and contributors seem happiest posing in front of theirs. The recently deceased Broccoli has, or had, a rather swank Italiante affair, complete with Doric columns and pencil-thin cedars. Director Guy Hamilton has a rather more modest pool, complete with an underpowered-looking fountain, in what looks like Provence. As always, though, Sean Connery knows not to flaunt it, and is happy to be filmed on the veranda of his home in Nassau.

Comments